Nightly News   |  May 07, 2013

Cleveland woman’s daring escape saves two others

It had been a decade since Amanda Berry went missing, and even longer since the two other women found in the same house had disappeared. When they were rescued, Gina DeJesus, who disappeared in 2004 at 14 years old, was described by her cousin as “the same old Gina” -- still upbeat, even after her difficult ordeal. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> good evening. it came down to a frantic 911 call. that was the start of it. three women missing and feared dead were held inside a cleveland, ohio, home and are now free. the sorry and awful details are spilling out about the men accused of keeping human prisoners and about how this might have happened, how it might have gone on for so long with people coming and going and neighbors passing by all the while. start can when the story broke last night it has made headlines around the world. at least there's a happy resolution to report in cleveland. we want to begin our coverage tonight with kristen dahlgren. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. yeah, there is a crowd gathered here tonight continuing the celebration. it's been an incredible 24 hours here. three men are in custody. three women are free. including amanda berry who disappeared in 2003 at age 16 headed home from her job at burger king . her family never saw her again until now. amanda berry alive with her family, a picture some never thought they would see. finally safe, but only after a harrowing escape and a desperate call to 911.

>> help me, i'm amanda berry .

>> do you need police , fire or ambulance?

>> i need police .

>> okay. what's going on there?

>> i've been kidnapped and i've been missing for ten years. and i'm here, i'm free now.

>> all right. we're sending them, okay?

>> okay, i mean like --

>> who is the guy -- who is the guy who went out?

>> his name is ariel castro.

>> how old is he?

>> he's like 52.

>> all right.

>> i'm amanda berry . i've been on the news for the last ten years.

>> i seen this girl going nuts trying to get out of a house. i go on the porch. she says help me get out. i've been in here a long time.

>> reporter: the scene a surprise for neighbors who never suspected a thing.

>> all you saw was guys running and pulling and out comes this woman and a kid, and she's screaming hysterically.

>> about five minutes after the police got here, see, the girl amanda told the police , i ain't just the only one. there's some more girls up in that house.

>> reporter: still in the house were gina dejesus who disappeared in 2004 at just 14 and michele knight missing since 2002 . for more than a decade police searched for them but turned up nothing.

>> for amanda 's family, for gina 's family, for michele's family, prayers have finally been answered. the nightmare is over.

>> reporter: family and friends rushed to the hospital. this is dejesus' cousin.

>> she asked like is that robert? gave me the biggest hug. she was upbeat. just wanting to hang out with her friends and family. that's what gina was about, friends and family.

>> reporter: for berry 's family there is one more now. a 6-year-old police say is berry 's daughter born while her mother was held captive.

>> she'll be welcomed in the home just like amanda will. we've been waiting for them both, evidently.

>> reporter: police today called that little girl 's mother a hero for her daring escape, while the families who never gave up hope get ready to finally welcome the three now grown women home.

>> the not knowing is what kills you, but in the last few years, elizabeth smart , jaycee dugard, now these three women . it lends hope. i say it to parents all the time. don't ever give up.

>> those girls, those women are so strong. it's what we do out here, what we've done in ten years is nothing compared to what those women have done together to survive.

>> reporter: now, amanda berry 's mother never lived to see this day. she died in 2006 . a lot has changed since these women disappeared. some have new nieces and nephews. michele actually has a little sister she has never met. they are now all in a private location getting reacquainted with their families. as you can see, the fbi continues here on the crime scene looking for any clues, brian.

>> it's almost nice to hear a boisterous night in the neighborhood. kristen dahlgren starting off our coverage.